Artists of the week: Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment
When the debut LP of a 21-year-old trumpeter reaches 618,000 downloads via iTunes and 10 million individual track downloads on its first week of release, one is bound to wonder what the heck is going on. The answer is both clear and unsettling: Surf is the debut studio album of Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment, being the first Nico Segal (the above-mentioned young trumpeter) and the later a self-described group of bohemian musicians consisting of Peter Cottonale, Greg Landfair Jr., Nate Fox and one of the most promising hip-hop recording artists of the last decade: Chance The Rapper.
After releasing his highly praised second mixtape, Acid Rain, in 2013, Chance maintained a pretty low profile, collaborating as a guest vocalist for Childish Gambino, Vic Mensa and Action Bronson and debuting in a lead acting role in Colin Tiley’s short film Mr. Happy. That his next step is to dilute his stardom as a mere member of a new rambling band, contributing with vocals and arrangement for half of the album’s tracks, may sound strange until you actually listen to the record. Surf is a contagious collection of up-tempo and uplifting tunes, meticulously produced and arranged, that showcase an impressive range of live instrumentation that shifts with ease between neo-soul, jazz and hip-hop. And not only is Chance’s syncopated flow better and more complex than ever, as all its guests (Busta Rhymes, J. Cole, Big Sean, Erykah Badu, etc.) are all in the top of their game. Definitely one of the most surprising highlights of a year that has been so far quite incredible music-wise.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.